Our last two blog posts have focused on ten common financial mistakes to avoid during a divorce. Today, we discuss some common pitfalls that can occur while the divorce case is proceeding.
1. Not doing a thorough job completing your Statement of Property or Statement of Income and Expenses.
You cannot negotiate a good settlement without having all of the information necessary. In Missouri, you are required to complete and file a Statement of Property and Statement of Income and Expenses as part of the divorce process. The goal of both financial statements is to list everything you own and everything you owe, what you make and what you spend. The process to complete the financial statements can be time-consuming and tedious which is why individuals going through a divorce may simply rush through filling out these important documents. That rush can result in you failing to provide your attorney with all of the information needed to reach the best result in your divorce case. You should put in the time necessary to gather all of the supporting financial documents and be thorough when completing your financial statements. The investment upfront will ultimately save you time in the end. More importantly, the investment will prevent you from making a costly financial mistake.
2. Failing to fully disclose your assets, debts, income, and expenses.
A lack of disclosure can be very detrimental to your divorce case. A lack of transparency erodes whatever trust remains with your spouse. Further, the lack of disclosure will likely lead to extensive discovery which results in increased attorney fees. Last, the Court may be the ultimate decision-maker if your divorce case has to be tried. Will your omission(s) affect how the Court rules on the division of property, debt, maintenance, or attorney fees? You should consider how your credibility will be received by the Court at a trial based on failing to fully disclose your assets, debt, income, and expenses while the case was proceeding.
3. Not asking your attorney how the divorce process works.
There’s a ton of great information and resources out there on the internet. However, you will be best served to pick up the phone and ask your attorney the questions you need answered to get educated about the divorce process. If you don’t enjoy speaking on the phone, then schedule an appointment with your attorney to discuss in the office as the conversation needs to be interactive which is why email is not the solution to this problem. There are enough unknowns during divorce as it is – speaking with your attorney so you have an understanding of the process will reduce your anxiety.
4. Not considering your divorce options.
There are alternatives to simply having a trial in a courtroom to end your marriage. The choice you make for how you get divorced is one of the most important decisions you will make. Take the time to understand your options. A settlement meeting with attorneys or mediation can be great options for resolving disputes in a less adversarial manner. Think about which process best meets your needs for the conclusion of the divorce case.
5. Attempting to use your divorce to punish your spouse.
Although the process of divorce is dividing a family from one household into two, there are times where you need to think about your divorce as a business transaction. From a financial perspective, divorce is the unwinding of an economic partnership. The divorce process is not set up to be the forum for you to get revenge for your spouse’s wrongdoings. If you have children, you should further consider how attempting to use the divorce to punish your spouse will affect them. In the end, using the divorce to punish your spouse can be a punishment to you and your children.
Should you need the advice of a divorce attorney or have questions or concerns about your situation, know that we are here to help and discuss those issues with you.